Early on in my internship at Grub Kitchen, head chef Andy told me to think about a dish to create for the restaurant using crickets. I had all sorts of elaborate menus and recipes in mind, but when he found out that I had been in charge of making crackers for the CNM Natural Chef exam, he jumped on the idea as he’d been thinking of creating a cricket cracker anyway.
It was good timing for me too because ages ago I was sent some Crobars and cricket flour to review, which I’d never gotten round to doing because I didn’t really have much inspiration of what to do with the cricket flour. Obviously, after the internship I’ve got a much better idea about what you can do with cricket flour. Andy also suggested adding purple dulse, which had been gathered on the beaches of St Davids by a friend; I didn’t need asking twice. I’ve read a lot about how good seaweed is for you but I am not very good at making a habit of adding it to my food regularly.
The recipe I used for the exam crackers was a gluten-free one based on the wonderful hazelnut pastry in Henrietta Inman‘s fantastic book Clean Cakes. For the cricket crackers, I substituted around 30% of the total flour quantity with cricket flour, reducing the nut meal by around half as crickets have quite a nutty flavour already.
Much like liver and seaweed, I can foresee a time when I do my best to add insects into my cooking to increase the protein or nutritional quality of the meal. At the moment it’s not a very cheap ingredient, nor is it that easy to buy (you can’t get it at my local Tesco for instance…) so it’s unlikely to be anything more than a novelty for me now but hopefully this will change, as I think they are an important part of our future as a solution to food availability issues.
- 60g cricket flour
- 30g almond flour
- 95g buckwheat flour
- 12.5g (1.5 tbsp) arrowroot
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt, divided
- 50g olive oil
- 4–6 tbsp cold water
- Sprinkle of purple dulse
- Sprinkle of whole crickets or spices (e.g. nigella or cumin seeds)
- Preheat oven to 180C; line two baking trays with baking parchment.
- Place the cricket flour, almond flour, buckwheat flour, arrowroot and ½ tsp salt and pulse to combine.
- Pour the olive oil into the food processor and pulse again to combine.
- Add 4 tablespoons of water to start with and mix until everything comes together into a ball; you may need to add a couple more tablespoons to get the right texture.
- Roll out the dough until very thin, sprinkle ½ tsp salt, the purple dulse and the crickets (or spices) over the crackers, and gently roll over again with the rolling pin to press the seasoning in.
- Using a large cookie cutter, stamp out as many crackers as possible from the dough (or cut the dough into squares or triangles using a sharp knife) and transfer to baking tray.
- Cook for 10–15 minutes; check the crackers are browned underneath. Cool on trays.